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Chelsea challenge awaits APOEL

Having earned a notable draw on Matchday 1, APOEL FC's first home UEFA Champions League game brings them up against a Chelsea FC side boasting one of the best records in the competition in recent seasons.

Chelsea challenge awaits APOEL
Chelsea challenge awaits APOEL ©UEFA.com

APOEL FC could hardly have chosen more illustrious opponents to mark their home debut in the UEFA Champions League as they welcome Chelsea FC, who have reached the semi-finals or better in five of the last six campaigns, to Nicosia.

• Although the teams have never previously met nor faced a club from their opponents' country, both should be in buoyant mood after creditable results on Matchday 1, APOEL marking their first group-stage appearance with a scoreless draw at Club Atlético de Madrid while Nicolas Anelka's goal proved enough for Chelsea to see off FC Porto at Stamford Bridge.

Match background
• In the qualifying rounds APOEL won all three of their home games, starting with a 3-0 home victory over EB/Streymur which eased them through 5-0 on aggregate in the second qualifying round.

• In the next stage APOEL beat FK Partizan 2-0 at home for a 2-1 overall win and then in the play-off round against FC København overturned a 1-0 first-leg deficit with a 3-1 home success.

• However in UEFA competitions proper, the Cypriot champions have a poor recent home record. In the UEFA Cups of 2000/01, 2003/04, 2005/06 and 2008/09, home defeats in the first round contributed to their eliminations.

• APOEL did defeat Grazer AK 2-0 in the 2002/03 UEFA Cup first round first leg, winning 3-1 on aggregate, but in the next stage lost 1-0 at home to Hertha BSC Berlin and bowed out 4-0 overall.

• Chelsea failed to win on their travels in last season's group stage, drawing with CFR 1907 Cluj and FC Girondins de Bordeaux either side of a 3-1 defeat at AS Roma.

• Since a 2-1 defeat by Fenerbahçe SK in the 2007/08 quarter-final first leg, Chelsea have played seven away games in the UEFA Champions League, not including their defeat in the 2008 final in Moscow against Manchester United FC. They have drawn five, won one and lost one.

Team ties
• APOEL midfielder Nuno Morais signed for Chelsea from FC Penafiel in August 2004 soon after José Mourinho had taken charge of the London club. He made his debut in an FA Cup victory over Scunthorpe United FC in January 2005 but made only two subsequent appearances in the Premier League against Manchester United and Everton FC before joining the Cypriot club in May 2007.

• Michael Ballack scored Germany's goal in a 1-1 draw against Cyprus in the GSP Stadium in a UEFA EURO 2008™ Group D qualifier on 15 November 2006. Marios Elia, Konstantinos Charalambides, Chrysostomos Michail were on the opposite side with Michalis Morfis an unused substitute.

• Petr Čech played for the Czech Republic as they beat Cyprus 1-0 in Liberec in a UEFA EURO 2008™ Group D qualifier on 28 March 2007. On the opposing side were Marinos Satsias, Elia and Charalambides.